Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg released from hospital after cancer surgery

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been released from the hospital after cancer surgery.

Ginsburg, the leader of the court's liberal faction, was discharged on Christmas Day and is recuperating at home, court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ginsburg, 85, underwent a pulmonary lobectomy last week at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The procedure to remove two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung followed their discovery during tests performed last month to diagnose and treat rib fractures suffered in a fall on Nov. 7.

Both nodules removed during surgery were found to be malignant on initial pathology evaluation, according to thoracic surgeon Valerie Rusch, the court said in a statement last week. Post-surgery, there was no evidence of any remaining disease in the lung or anywhere else in Ginsburg's body, the court said.

Associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ginsburg, a 25-year veteran of the nation's highest court and a cultural icon among liberals and proponents of women's rights, has been closely monitored by those on the left and right for her health. Conservatives have a 5-4 majority on the court, and future vacancies during President Donald Trump's watch could increase that margin. Republicans will have a 53-47 majority in the Senate next year.

Ginsburg's lung cancer is just the latest in a lengthy list of physical maladies from which she has recovered over the years. She had colon cancer 20 years ago and pancreatic cancer a decade ago. She received a stent in a heart procedure in 2014 and has been injured in previous falls. None of those incidents kept her off the bench.

Earlier this year, Ginsburg said she intended to stay on the bench for at least five more years, noting that Associate Justice John Paul Stevens served until age 90. Stevens retired in 2010 and is now 98.

The second woman appointed to the court – Justice Sandra Day O'Connor became the first in 1981 – Ginsburg has gained celebrity status as the "Notorious RBG." She is the subject of a recent documentary, "RBG," and a feature film, "On the Basis of Sex,"which opens in theaters this week. 

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